On November 4, 1966, an abnormal occurrence of circumstances caused the Venetian lagoon to rise up to a height of 194 cm above average sea level. Suddenly the entire world realised the fragility of the city on the water, as the flood left thousands of residents without homes and services.
Since then private owners were tackling the very real issue of “defending from high water” their own houses by constructing a waterproof reinforced concrete shell inside the existing buildings walls. In the island of Burano, in the northern Lagoon, such emergency was particularly evident because of its traditional urban reality, made of a dense assembling of extremely small single family houses, in which the ground floor was the natural living space of the unit.
This intervention, commissioned as an intimate refuge for a couple living abroad, deliberately left visible the materiality of such protection shell, being shaped and used as a spatial device in itself. While barely unchanged from the outside, yet the interiors of the yellow house has been completely rethought; each of the 3 floors, measuring 3,5 by 5 meters, is designed as part of a vertical route with constantly changing materials, atmospheres and views.
So the generous dining table on ground floor suggests a constant use of the kitchen, made of a single block of Carrara white marble, while all furnitures find place under the concrete stair. On first floor the traditional venetian coloured floor and the smoothness of stucco walls become frame for a custom shaped sofa; finally, stepping on floating steel steps is possible to access the bedrooms area of the house, sort of wooden box that also becomes a stair to reach the studio space, allowing a secret view to the roofs of the island.